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Whitney Houston's Death Casts Shadow Over Grammy Awards


LL Cool J speaks onstage during the 54th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 in Los Angeles.

LL Cool J speaks onstage during the 54th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 in Los Angeles.

The Grammy Awards ceremony began Sunday on a somber note as host LL Cool J offered a prayer for Whitney Houston, the iconic singer who was found dead one night earlier.

After introducing footage of Houston singing, "I Will Always Love You," one of her most well-known songs, at a previous Grammy ceremony, LL Cool J told the audience, "Whitney, we will always love you."

The 48-year-old singer and actress was a six-time Grammy award winner. Police say they are still investigating the cause of her death, but said there was no evidence of criminal involvement.

Jennifer Hudson, who starred in "Dreamgirls," about the evolution of R&B music, was slated to sing a medley of Houston's songs later in the show.

The musical tributes continued with a rendition of an Etta James classic "A Sunday Kind of Love" by singers Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys. The 73-year-old American blues singer James died last month.

The first award of the broadcast, for Best Pop Solo Performance, went to British R&B singer, Adele, for her hit song "Rolling in the Deep." Adele's performance later in the ceremony has been highly anticipated. It is her first since she underwent surgery to remove a polyp on her vocal chords.

Before the broadcast, Adele won two additional awards. She is nominated for six.

These are the 54th Grammy Awards.

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